JOURNAL ARCHIVE: June thru October, 2002

JUNE thru OCTOBER 2002:

My country is voting to go to war against Iraq, and I'm sitting here on the computer looking at message boards, arguing about whether Stan Lee was a good writer or not.

The House has voted today to allow President Bush to launch war against Iraq, and the Senate is likely to do the same tomorrow. This is happening. America is planning to invade and conquer a foreign country without provocation, with the aim of "removing" (murdering?) its leader and likely killing many of that nation's soldiers and civilians in the process (whom we claim not to have a problem with).

I have to admit that I'm conflicted. I think Bush's action against Iraq is reckless and dangerous, however if Saddam, a scumbag dictator, is gone as a result of it, then perhaps it might be worth it. But then what? Would our reputation in the Middle East ever recover? Would "they" hate us even more? Would there be unforseen negative consequences because of this war?

This is the time to march, I think, if one is going to march. There's an anti-war march on The White House scheduled for October 26th (you can read about it here). There are likely anti-war events happening in my area, but I don't know anything about it. I'm not sure I'd go even if I did know more about them.

I guess this means I'm lazy. I'd rather write a post on a message board instead of taking a stand in public. I'd rather watch the news than help make the news. I'd rather watch TV than get on TV. I'll sit in my chair and talk about what comics I'll be buying next week rather than try to prevent my country from going to war next week. I'll enthusiastically post about old war and horror comics, but I'll sit by and do nothing as actual war and horror is visited upon another country by my government.

Like I said, I'm conflicted. Part of me instinctively thinks that I should get involved in the peace movement and actively oppose the war. But perhaps things would be better with Saddam gone. I don't know. I don't like the idea of America attacking another country without provocation and violently removing their leader, even if he is a dictator. (Other countries have dictators, too, and we aren't going to war against them. Some of them are supposedly our allies!)

What do you think about the war? If you oppose the war, will you be marching against it?
-- October 10, 2002; 8:00pm

Wow, it's been almost TWO months since I've updated this page. Well, here's what has been going on since then.

My dad died in late August 2002. I posted in detail (probably too much detail) about it over at CBR. You can look them up in the archives there if you want.

I recently dropped my Internet provider of the past few years and got a cable modem instead. Note my new email addy, listed elsewhere on this page. If you've emailed me within the past two weeks at my old email addy, I probably didn't get the email. The reason that I haven't emailed everyone letting them know my new email is because I have a totally new computer (and monitor) now and I'm not yet able to access my old hard drive on it, including my old emails. I hope to get it working on this new computer eventually and mail out a note to everybody.

I started up a fan page devoted to singer MISS ANGIE. Click here to get there. There's not much there now but it's a start. Funny that I should only get around to doing a Miss Angie fan page now, when she hasn't put out a new album in a little over 3 years. But I want to keep attention going about her and have been slightly alarmed at the lack of Internet activity about her recently (including the formerly "official" Miss Angie site biting the dust).
-- October 6, 2002; 4:35pm

Yipes! Been a loooonnng time since I've added an entry to this main page. But I have added something new to the site. Check out my new page reminiscing about GOOD OLD DAYS MAGAZINE. The page includes some scans of Sid Couchey art, as well as a large scan of a 1920 "Bringing Up Father" Sunday page and a 1930 "Ella Cinders" page, both of which had been reprinted in "Good Old Days" magazine in the mid-1980s. If any of the pics don't show up, just put your cursor over the picture and right click and press "Show Picture." That should make it show up if you have a slow connection like me. There are some big pictures there, so sometimes the page will "time out" before opening all the pics.

Nice to see TVLand playing these two Sally Field series from the 1960s, although perhaps they could play them at a better hour. (I've only seen them after midnight.) I had known of Sally Field as a movie star of the 1970s, and had vaguely heard the title of the show "The Flying Nun" before, but watching these shows gave me a new appreciation for Sally Field in her earliest days. In both shows, she comes across as a really cute teenager.

I found a webpage for her at a site called "Swingin' Chicks" that says "she was only nineteen as the Gidg," although she comes across as a few years younger than that. Surprisingly, there's not much else on the web that I could find about Sally Field. For example, she doesn't appear to have an official website. And Yahoo listed only like 5 webpages for her, which included such things as the Internet Movie Database entry for her.

TV Guide apparently listed "The Flying Nun" as one of the 50 worst TV shows of all time, but it's not that bad. (Hey, it's from the 1960s! How bad could it be? Plus, lots of sitcoms back then were based on off-the-wall premises, such as "Giligan's Island," "Bewitched," and "The Beverly Hillbillies.")

Anyway, if you are turning channels between midnight and 1am (Eastern time), looking for something different to watch, turn it to TVLand and check out "Gidget" and "The Flying Nun." Chances are that TVLand won't be playing 'em forever, so don't put it off...

Comics artist Grass Green died recently. The only work of his that I've ever read was Wildman #1, published circa 1987 by an indie publisher (Spectrum comics or something like that). I bought it a few years back in a cheap box -- not sure how I knew it would be good! Grass' art inside is reminiscent of Simon & Kirby. I recall one critic describing that kind of style by saying that it looks like everything is wrapped in aluminum foil. Wildman was a superhero parody comic, and a dang good one! I would occasionally read some of the lines out loud while reading the comic because they were so good.

Wildman had a sidekick, I think his name was Rubberoy. In the first story, Wildman & Rubberoy have to take on the gangs in the city, and so they head toward "the secret room" in their HQ. (Rubberoy has a Brooklyn accent, making things funnier and somehow Marvelesque/Kirbyesque.) Wildman and Rubberoy are great chums in the tradition of Batman & Robin, but in the second story their partnership is threatened when Wildman discovers a worthier sidekick, Pyro Tyro (who is like the Human Torch), much to Rubberoy's dismay! Picture Captain America abandoning Bucky and letting the Torch be his sidekick instead, and then Bucky bawling his eyes out over it and trying to somehow get back to being Cap's partner again. Funny stuff drawn in a pleasing style. I've always wanted to read more of Grass' work after reading Wildman #1, but rarely have encountered it.

Here are some CBR message board conversations which I either started or contributed to within the past few weeks (just in case you think I haven't been writing anything lately)...
-- August 10, 2002; 3:10pm

ASM #10 original art sells for $161,000
My back issue purchases today (July 23)
F. Nieto (Charlton artist)
What are the best music magazines?
Kevin Max to stop performing at Christian festivals
More comic book store bunk (about pull lists)
What age is too young to read The Hulk?
"I think Rimes exists outside of time."

Went to three local comics shops yesterday and bought some issues, both old and new. The new comics: THE ORDER #5 (Marvel, $2.25), POWER COMPANY #5 (DC, $2.50), INFINITY ABYSS #1 (Marvel, six-issue mini-series by Jim Starlin and Al Milgrom, $2.99), and LOVE AND ROCKETS #4 (Fantagraphics, $3.95). The old comics, all found in the cheap back issue boxes for a buck each: ALIEN ENCOUNTERS #7 (Eclipse, 1986); BASIL WOLVERTON'S FANTASTIC FABLES #2 (Dark Horse, 1993); INTENSE #1 (Wolverton reprints; Pure Imagination, 1993); LEX LUTHOR: THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY (DC, 1989, Prestige Format one-shot; bought it for the Ed Barreto art); THE RINGO KID #13 (Marvel, 1972); GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING #1 (Marvel, 1974; contains one "pre-Marvel" five-pager by Lee-Ditko, and two stories -- totalling 20 pages! -- drawn by Jack Kirby). I'm planning to go back up to one of the shops very soon and get a lot of the Cerebus issues that I saw there cheap.

I also got CHARLTON SPOTLIGHT #2 in the mail, as well as some recent issues of ROBIN SNYDER'S THE COMICS newsletter -- all of which I very much enjoyed. I recommend checking out both publications (which aren't available through the PREVIEWS catalog, but only by mail-order) if you are a fan of Steve Ditko in particular or old comicbooks in general.

A couple days ago, I added an old self-portrait drawing to my "Art" section. And today I added a list of all the Sunday newspaper comic strip sections in my collection (from 1984 to 1994) to my "Comics Strips" page. I spent the early part of this week trying to update my music links section, "Crossover Music." A lot of the links and pics there currently don't work; lots of updating for me to do there. I think that's the last part of the site that I really have to update. (Aside from the EQMM section, much of which needs to be given proper HTML fonts, etc.)

Usually I tape TBN Friday and Saturday nights after midnight when they play CCM video programs, but I'm probably going to record over most of what I taped last night. The new episode of "Real Videos" featured comedian Bob Smiley backstage at the Dove Awards where he talked briefly with various artists including Phil Joel and Michael Tait. But I already have all the videos they played and I'm not gonna keep a copy of it just for those short interview bits. And the old episode (circa 1994) of "Real Videos" that they aired at 2:30am was hosted by Wayne Watson and played videos that I already had or didn't want, for the most part, so it looks like I'll probably be taping over that as well. In fact, the only thing TBN played last night that I'll probably keep is the new .Rod Laver video, which "2Worlds" played. (They also played it the previous night at 4:45am, but I'd only had that one on EP speed.)
-- June 16, 2002; 9:50pm

Just a reminder that VH-1 will be airing the Queen's Jubilee concert this Sunday at 9:00pm Eastern time. I'd noticed that when it took place, a few days ago, CNN was covering the event, and aired Prince Charles' speech to the Queen (who was led onto the stage by Beatles producer George Martin), but immediately after that, when Paul McCartney began singing "Hey Jude," CNN cut away from the show, saying that the BBC had exclusive rights to broadcast the music portion of the show. "Well, how are WE supposed to see it then?" I thought. And then I noticed that VH-1 would be airing the concert this Sunday. Might be interesting.

Speaking of VH-1, I notice that they'll be airing an episode of "Ed Sullivan's Rock & Roll Classics" today at 6:30pm and that this particular half-hour show will be about the British Invasion. And an episode of the same series will also be aired Sunday at 2:30pm, this time focusing on "Bad Boys of Rock 'n' Roll." I'd said recently how I'd like to see such vintage performances on TV again, and now here they are.

By the by, the interview guest on tonight's episode of "The Altarnet Experiment" (1am Saturday nights on PAX) will be the Supertones. I've no idea who's hosting "Cafe Video," though (which comes on right afterward).
-- June 8, 2002; 4:25am

One of the items scheduled for August which I had on the order form that I turned in to my shop on Wednesday was a new "Peanutbutter & Jeremy" comic by James Kochalka, published by Alternative Comics. I was really pleased to see it listed in the new Previews catalog because, as chance would have it, I'd recently read issues #1 & #2 to my 5 year old nephew when he visited a couple weeks ago, and he seemed to enjoy them. I think they are perfect for kids of all ages -- except perhaps for the bit in #1 about the bird having a gun, which seemed a little too dark for the otherwise light-hearted story. (Unfortunately, the description of #3 indicates that the gun will make a re-appearance.) I had enjoyed #1 by itself, but enjoyed #2 even more because of having read #1 (although both issues are self-contained basically). So, I expect to enjoy #3 even more because of having enjoyed the two before it. And it will be amusing to read another P&J comic to my nephew the next time I see him (provided that #3 is worth reading), and to see if he remembers the characters from the previous reading.

Anyway, if you want to support and enjoy cheaply-priced comics that are suitable for all ages, just click the picture to the right, to find out more about "Peanutbutter & Jeremy." The pic is the cover of #3, coming in August. You can find the comic on Page 213 of the current Previews catalog and its item code # is JUN02 1978. There, now you can order it yourself!

By the way, it was great to see my nephew take an interest in comics. I had some Red Circle Comics sitting in a stack on a table in the living room (left over from a post I'd written about them) and he kept pulling out the "Thunder Bunny" one-shot, wanting me to read it to him. I thought that was great, and shows the basic appeal of comics: You see a character on the cover and want to read the story inside, to find out about this character. Oh, here's another anecdote: when I started to read Peanutbutter & Jeremy #1 to him, he stopped me and said something to the effect of "I don't like comics in black & white!" I hadn't even noticed that the comic was not in color, and it hadn't occured to me that he might have a problem with that. But he seemed to forget about his objection to B&W once I started reading to him. Anyway, it's too bad that comics like P&J or even 20 year old "Thunder Bunny" comics are not more available for kids to read.

I'm one of those comics fans who puts a lot of importance on the art in comics. If the art is lousy, I don't even want to read the comic. Whereas if the art is nice, I'll want to read the comic. And even if the story turns out to be inferior to the art, at least I enjoyed looking at the drawings.

Which brings me to this month's issue of THE ORDER (formerly THE DEFENDERS) #4, which I bought on Wednesday. Before buying this issue, I had actually been thinking of dropping the series from my monthly pull list. After all, this was a different comic than the one I'd originally had on the pull list, and even that comic (because of Erik Larsen's sometimes-goofy art style) was a little different than what I'd expected it to be like. I was just glad to have the old Defenders back, even the original logo back. But now the logo was gone, and the (supposedly temporary) re-titling made it look like Marvel didn't have as much loyalty to the series as readers like myself had. Somehow I missed THE ORDER #1 -- probably because of the title change -- and #2 made me consider dropping the title because it just didn't seem all that likable to me. Still, the Avengers would be appearing in ORDER #3, so I decided I'd stick around for that.

Well, I never got around to reading #3 (it's still sitting in my pile of to-be-reads) but when I got THE ORDER #4 on Wednesday, I was pleased to see that the art chores this issue were by Dan Jurgens and Bob Layton, the art team whose work I'd enjoyed recently on Captain America (until Marvel dumped them, whereupon I dropped Cap). Suddenly, because of the attractive Bronze Age style of artwork, I found myself wanting to read the comic and was getting the same kind of enjoyment out of the issue as I had a 1970s Defenders, or a Jurgens & Layton's Cap from last year, or a semi-recent Avengers (before the art got drab there when Perez & Alan Davis left). THE ORDER #4 is what a Marvel comic is supposed to look like! I even liked the cover, drawn by Carlos Pacheco. If only Marvel would keep Jurgens & Layton on THE ORDER (and call it THE DEFENDERS again), but I have a sinking feeling that they won't. Thus, we'd have another example of someone like myself wanting to buy new comics but being "prevented" from doing so because of the (creative and/or business) decisions of the publishers. But if they keep Jurgens & Layton on, then I'll keep buying it every month!

Well, I've finally finished nearly all of this site's revamp (which, as you can see below, began back on May 24th)! I've updated all of the links, finally finishing the "Comics Links" and "More Links" pages an hour ago. I'm sure that I'll have more links to add to those two particular pages, of course. The only part of my site that hasn't been really revamped yet is the "Music" section; perhaps I'll work on that next week. Anyway, it's a relief to finally get my links to other sites updated. To quote P.O.D., "How do ya like me now?"
-- June 8, 2002; 3:35am